Winner: Scott’s Top Questions of 2014 #3
I lose my temper a lot and when I do it’s really bad. My one sister can keep me calm but she’s going to school next year and that’s got me scared. I feel bad after I throw things or call people names. I’ll never have an adult relationship until I learn to control myself.
Please tell me you can help.
Fascinating. Despite the fact that your emotional experiences are created through a chemical messaging system between your brain and body, somehow your sister can hack this system and she can control your biology but you cannot! Amazing.
Yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek. I’m kidding. But it makes my point: you are giving your sister credit for what you have done. You simply believe your sister can calm you down so she can. But it’s not her that does the calming—it’s the belief. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
You sound a bit like the people who tell me they can’t help themselves from hitting their spouse, and yet they’ve never hit their bosses. The control is there, they’re just not applying it. It isn’t your sister that calms you down, it’s you. Own that. I’m serious. She can go to school and have a great experience having fun and getting educated and her little sister can still stay calm and collected and in the general state of mind that leads to good, calm decision-making. And you do that by believing in yourself.
Every single state of mind you experience is self-created by you, for you. Don’t blame others for your emotions. Take responsibility and control for what you feel by maintaining an awareness of what you are thinking. If you’re thinking angry thoughts then it’s no surprise that you’re getting angry. Duh. And since you’re the one thinking them, once you feel the anger rising, that’s your signal to stop thinking those kinds of thoughts. And how do you stop? You think of something else. Stop wanting, start appreciating. It’s easy.
You asked if I can help. No, I can’t. But you can. Pay attention to the direct relationship between how you judge something and how you feel about it. You will quickly see that you’re like some kind of processing being that conjures thoughts and elicits feelings. That is what your reality is, regardless of which sense it seemed to arrive on.
Remember, if you’re going through puberty or menopause or any other significant hormonal shift, then give yourself some room to have your feelings impacted. I’m not saying it’s fun, but if you know it’s a wave that you just have to survive then it’s a bit easier to deal with some of the challenges. But don’t expect pure calmness when you’re biology is doing loops.
You make yourself calm and you make yourself angry. Stop trying to become calm and simply create it. Stop creating anger by chaining together angry ideas, create calm by chaining together appreciative ideas. Relax, breathe and enjoy. That is what it is to be truly successful.